“I’m going to Rome and I am taking……hand sanitizer!”

Posted on April 30, 2011


Dear Crowded Bus,

This is an understatement.  Overcrowded does not even begin to cover how full this bus was today! It was raining and everyone needed to take the bus so people were wet, smelly and way too close to me. I am not tall so when they were crowding me it was backs and chests in my face. “Packed like Sardines” is a start but imagine packing the amount for two cans into one. That is what it was more like. I would have walked in the rain but my destination was pretty far away from home and I had less than an hour to get there. I counted each stop as more people got off the amount that got on increased and we were packed in like the salty fish. I know for a fact the bus driver was slamming on the brakes on purpose and stepping on the gas like he had a “lead foot” just to watch us tumble. If we weren’t breathing each others air we would have fallen like dominoes. Many of us packed in the center of the bus didn’t even have enough room to hold onto anything to steady ourselves but packed so tight we didn’t move too much just head butt and shouldered one another at each stop. I had about 8 more stops and was counting down and watching through the window under some dudes leather armpit. Not my favorite day taking the bus. Leather armpit guy had on goldchains, a huge diamond watch and some D & G shades on. I could smell the nicotine escaping his skin and his expensive cologne ruined my nostrils for 6 stops.

I finally escaped the metal can on wheels and didn’t even open my umbrella to fight the rain. I felt the light rain would cleanse me of all the strangers linger that I felt was still on me! I was relieved today when I double-checked the address and it was NOT as close to his work as I thought! I checked out my map and headed towards the International Hostel of Rome. My dear friend and mentor asked me to pay a visit to share my input of the place. Having never seen or been inside ANY hostel I didn’t know what I was investigating but it gave me something to do today so I was happy to go on this short adventure. Once I located it and rang the bell I was let in and walked up four flights of stairs. It sort of reminded me of a mix of summer camp and dorm living. There were many people of all ages and it seemed pretty accommodating. The staff was very helpful and quick to show me around. I called earlier and had my half Italian half English conversation to give them a heads up. They asked me to come before 3 and I got there about ten to 3! The place seemed pretty decent with internet, laundry and dining areas with small kitchens. I think what she meant for me to “check out” was if I would consider staying there. I would for the decent prices and location. It is right off Termini, which is the main station for transportation. It is easy to find your way around when you are close to where all the buses depart! I thanked the kid for the “tour” and told him to have a nice day. I started walking with no place to be or go in particular. I was trying to avoid a certain street but kept realizing that was the way I know how to get home and it can’t be avoided. I skipped some streets and found my way on the forbidden street and was about a half of a mile down from his work so I felt it was safe. I waited for my bus and hoped it wasn’t full like earlier. I got off at another point to change buses so that I could get all the way to my street without making three stops. I am near a supermercato that I have not been inside and I remember that I desperately need some hand sanitizer for my purse. I like the grocery stores here so I always make a point to go inside even if I don’t need anything at all! I like to look, that’s all. Hand sanitizer is a must! Rome is SERIOUSLY the dirtiest place I have ever been to in my life. Plus, I needed some things like a new toothbrush and toothpaste (spazzolino di denti e dentifricio) It always makes me laugh when I see “spaz” because I think of my dad. Not that he is such a “spaz” but I like the way that he calls others this name! In Italian there is not the “z” sound it actually sounds like “spats-oh-lee-no.” So when you see the “z” it is more like “ts” sound. I learned this early on when I mispronounced Abruzzo to a teacher at school. She informed me that it is pronounced “aw-brute-so” and said quick and fast! After the store I waited under a small overhang to avoid having to open my umbrella. This creeper dude kept staring at me and I was avoiding him but it wasn’t working so well. I could feel his eyes on me and it was uncomfortable! I opened my umbrella so I could literally “hide” under it and not have to see his face watching me! It worked pretty good because next thing I knew I was standing alone and he moved on. I don’t think he was waiting for the bus like I was. It felt like my bus never came! I waited and waited and every other bus passed by…I thought about walking but it started to rain harder and my purse was getting heavy. I was so excited to buy this black bag with attachable straps but day after I bought it one of the clamps broke! It is a bitch trying to make sure that it doesn’t come undone so I gave up on it and have been carrying it by the handles. I will buy another black bag before summer is over I am sure of it.

Tomorrow is the beatification of John Paul II so EVERYTHING will be closed for the ceremony at the Vatican. Sunday everything is closed but I mean all public transportation as well. Such an important day! I might as well get down there and take photos and witness this once in a lifetime opportunity. I will write more tomorrow about the late Pope since there are some very interesting things about him! T and S told me that they are having some friends over tomorrow for lunch. I believe the count is 8 total but it might be 8 adults PLUS children? I don’t know but this sounds intense! Even 8 plus us is 13 people total. The fridge here is chock full of good chow, fresh berries and “sweeties”, as T refers to treats or anything from the panetteria (bakery)! Today the family had much to do to prepare for their guests and who knows what else they did today. I left after 1pm and came home around 6 and there was no sign of anyone. By 8:30 I made my own pasta dinner with fresh pomodoro and basil. I was starting to worry about them so I opened my own bottle of wine and started a countdown to calling or texting them to make sure they were all right. I put on Avatar and about twenty minutes in I paused and called T’s cell from the house phone. Timing with her is still pretty on point. She answered but hung up on me since she was putting her key in the door and I heard the rest of them getting off the elevator! It was well past bedtime for the kids but Tommaso still insisted on watching the end of the soccer game before bed. He turned off my movie, even put the disc back into its case, and demanded I change the channel to the game. Va bene! Napoli versus Genoa. I don’t know the score I went to my room then helped Matteo change into his pajamas. He told me he was too tired to pee, brush his teeth or wash his hands. I told him that his mom or dad would probably make him before he sleeps and he told me his favorite word,”no!” Sometimes, lately his favorite word is, “mio!” (Mine!) or maybe that is only to his brother when he takes his toys from him everyday?  Then again, two days ago he tried to take my book from my hands and tell me that it was his.


Posted in: When in Rome